Bet on Kerry

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On The Web -

IN­TER­EST is soar­ing in Kerry Packer, thanks to Nine’s ex­cel­lent mini-se­ries based on the late ty­coon’s es­tab­lish­ment of World Se­ries Cricket. Packer, an ex­cep­tional gam­bler and car guy, might have ap­pre­ci­ated this chance to scam a bar quiz or two. The ap­par­ently sim­ple ques­tion: What ini­tials were on Packer’s per­son­alised num­ber plates? The largely un­known an­swer: FP, for Frank Packer, his dad. Col­lect cash, head for casino.

RAC­ING GREENS

A VIDEO once ar­rived at my house pro­mot­ing the cause of ve­g­an­ism. It was sent from the US by none other than the world’s main ve­gan, Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals pres­i­dent In­grid Newkirk, who sought to ed­u­cate me in the ways of com­plete meat­less­ness.

Ve­g­ans are ac­tu­ally more like food than some­thing that should be telling you about food, so her well-mean­ing diet ad­vice was ig­nored. But it turns out that In­grid the ve­gan and me the meateater ac­tu­ally share a com­mon pas­sion.

The PETA pres­i­dent is a For­mula One fa­natic. ‘‘ It’s sex,’’ the crit­ter-hug­ger once told The New Yorker. ‘‘ The first time you hear them rev their en­gines, my God! That noise goes straight up my spine.’’

Ac­cord­ing to an­other mag­a­zine pro­file, Newkirk thinks noth­ing of stay­ing up half the night to watch races in Aus­tralia or Malaysia. Her of­fice floor, in ad­di­tion to be­ing cov­ered with wel­come mats for cats, is strewn with copies of Car and Driver and Au­toweek.

Newkirk isn’t the only ecop­er­son with a rogue fond­ness for fast cars. Back in 2007, when he ran for the Se­nate as a Cli­mate Change Coali­tion can­di­date, ABC sci­ence celebrity Karl Kruszel­nicki owned a stomp­ing V8 Holden Monaro. ‘‘ Value for money, the Monaro is amaz­ing,’’ raved Dr Karl. ‘‘ For $50,000 it’s got lovely, lovely per­for­mance.’’

And Michael Or­gan, the first Greens mem­ber to win a seat in the fed­eral house of reps, is such an out-and-proud gear­head that he records his en­vi­able ve­hi­cle own­er­ship his­tory on­line. Among Michael’s mo­tors: a 1967 HR Holden, two tweaked Ford Es­corts, a 1977 A9X To­rana ca­pa­ble of 80km/h in first gear and a gov­ern­ment-sup­plied 2002 Ford Fal­con (‘‘I was booked in it com­ing home from de­liv­er­ing my first speech in par­lia­ment’’). Sadly, to date there’s no Or­gan Mor­gan.

Per­haps oth­ers on the eco side of pol­i­tics also crave non­par­lia­men­tary petrol-based power. Re­veal your hid­den car lust, Chris­tine Milne. You too, Sarah Han­son-Young.

Howzat!

Get per­sonal with Packer: Lachy Hulme as the ty­coon in

TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­graph.com.au

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